“Climate change is no longer a ticking timebomb, it is exploding before our eyes. It is making extreme weather such as droughts, cyclones and floods – which have increased five-fold over the past 50 years – more frequent and more deadly,” Gabriela Bucher, executive director of Oxfam International, said.
Extreme hunger is closely linked to the climate crisis, with many areas of the world most affected by extreme weather experiencing severe food shortages. Oxfam examined 10 of the world’s worst climate hotspots, afflicted by drought, floods, severe storms and other extreme weather, and found their rates of extreme hunger had more than doubled in the past six years.
The 10 countries covered by the report – Somalia, Haiti, Djibouti, Kenya, Niger, Afghanistan, Guatemala, Madagascar, Burkina Faso and Zimbabwe – were those with the highest number of UN appeals driven by extreme weather events.
Within the countries studied, 48 million people are currently suffering from acute hunger, up from about 21 million people in 2016. Of these, about 18 million people are on the brink of starvation, according to the Oxfam report.
The profits of fossil fuel companies over 18 days would be enough to fulfil the UN’s $49bn appeal for humanitarian aid this year, the Oxfam report found.
Bucher said: “Leaders of rich polluting countries must live up to their promises to cut emissions. They must pay for adaptation measures and loss and damage in low income countries, as well as immediately inject lifesaving funds to meet the UN appeal to respond to the most impacted countries.”
Somalia is experiencing its worst drought on record, and 1 million people have been forced to flee, while in Kenya 2.5 million livestock have died and 2.4 million people are going hungry.
Cereal production in Niger has fallen by 40% owing to extreme weather, leaving 2.6 million people in a state of acute hunger, while the desertification of crop and pasture land in Burkina Faso has resulted in more than 3.4 million people in extreme hunger.